I love so many types of jewelry, but my favorite pieces are the ones that hold a deeper meaning. Heirloom pieces keep us connected to our loved ones and allow us to carry them with us wherever we go. When a longtime client came to me with a plethora of pieces from relatives and loved ones, I was elated. We worked in stages to create two stunning pieces that complimented each other perfectly.
Her With Me Always set demonstrates the true breadth of what’s possible with heirloom redesigns. Here’s how it all came together!
We started out with two rings from her father: a gold wedding band and a diamond band. There was also a third ring from my client’s great-aunt which contained twenty-one petite rubies. As if that wasn’t enough, we had a set of pearl earrings from my client’s sister and a whole collection of spare gold jewelry for me to play with. Talk about options!
Creating the “With Me Always” Ring
This rippling diamond band was one of the first pieces I was able to craft 100% from client materials in my studio without melting it down. I love reusing materials like this because it’s both sentimental and sustainable. I started out rolling the yellow gold wedding band directly until it was wider and thinner. Then I melted it on the edges, reducing the width and thickening the edges plus adding in that flowing ripple texture.
(Side note: All my ripple pieces use a method/style called reticulation. This is an old-school metalsmithing technique that involves applying heat to very localized areas one at a time, causing the metal to melt in different directions. You can read more about this signature style on my blog!)
Then I created seven bezels for each of the diamonds, carefully set them, and polished this ring until it shined!
Cuff Bracelet: Inspiration and Design
After the ring was safely delivered, it was time to get started on the next phase of this project: a custom cuff bracelet. Cuffs are some of my absolute favorite jewelry pieces to make. I love how versatile they are and how they can make a big statement either alone or stacked. This particular cuff was inspired by my Galaxy Cuff. We knew we wanted to keep the rippling shape and textured surface, as well as the two-toned granules. But my client also wanted to add a meandering gold rivulet and, of course, those rubies!
So, I came up with some sketches that would honor all of these requests and, once I had the client’s approval, got right to work.
Crafting the Cuff
The early steps in this process will sound pretty familiar. First, I melted down the spare gold pieces with my torch, poured the ingot, and rolled that ingot nice and thin. Next… reticulation! (Surprise, surprise.)
This is where things took a bit of a different turn. Rather than crafting my rippling ingot into a ring, I added this winding river of gold to the base of the galaxy cuff. Then, I carefully set all 21 rubies in bezels scattered across the textured surface and within the gold portion.
Next, we pulled the spikes from the pearl earrings (I bet you forget about those) to make the petite gold granules for an extra dash of color and movement. Finally, it was time to clean and polish!
The Final Products
Nothing makes me happier than seeing the smile on a client’s face when their dream piece is revealed. And look how gorgeous this set looks on her! The big statement cuff pairs perfectly with the elegant diamond ring. It gets me all warm and bubbly inside to see not one but two Kristen Baird® pieces on the same hand!
But don't just take it from me. Here's what she has to say:
"Kristen crafted this set perfectly with my vision, she puts all her love into every piece she designs and painstakingly crafts. From our first meeting to her notes to follow up meetings to delivery, Kristen pays attention to every detail and now I get to wear my Father's Ring every day, and the cuff is perfection – Thank you sweet girl from the bottom of my heart."
The With Me Always set is the perfect example of building your personalized jewelry collection over time and proves that there is so much more to jewelry than just sparkles. (Although we do love sparkles!)
If you love these pieces and would like to collaborate on a creation of your own, don’t be shy! Reach out to me and let’s make something beautiful!